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PBS Special Explores ‘10 Buildings That Changed America’

What are the most influential buildings in America? Jot down a top ten list and then compare your picks with the structures that get their close-ups in 10 Buildings That Changed America, a special that premieres Sunday night on PBS. Host Geoffrey Baer criscrosses the country on a journey that spans two centuries of architectural innovation, from Thomas Jefferson‘s neoclassical Virginia State Capitol to the swooping stainless steel forms of Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles. In an interview with Baer, Frank Gehry reveals the secret behind the profusion of brass handrails in the concert hall and describes winning the 1988 design competition as “the least-likeliest thing that I thought would ever happen to me in my life.” New York is represented by the Seagram Building, which comes in at #7 and with insights from Phyllis Lambert, although three other Gotham landmarks–the Woolworth Building, the Chrysler Building, and the Guggenheim–made the extended list (“ten more buildings that changed America“) posted on the program’s website, where you can watch the individual segments along with web-exclusive additional footage.

Watch: Elsa Schiaparelli on What’s My Line?

It’s time to swap the surreal shoe hats for safety pin-encrusted fedoras as the Metropolitan Museum of Art puts the artfully distressed finishing touches on “PUNK: Chaos to Couture,” which will be unveiled to attendees of the Costume Institute gala on Monday evening and then opens to the public on Thursday. But before we say “ciao” to Elsa Schiaparelli, who shared the spotlight last spring in a series of “impossible conversations” with Miuccia Prada, we bring you video of her 1952 appearance on What’s My Line?, in which she attempted to preserve her “Mystery Guest” status as long as possible by grunting answers to the panelists’ yes or no questions.

Previously on UnBeige:
Frank Lloyd Wright on What’s My Line?
Schiaparelli and Prada: Sneak a Peek at the Met’s ‘Impossible Conversations’
Chaos to Couture: Metropolitan Museum Goes Punk for 2013 Costume Institute Exhibition

Guard on Duty During Gardner Museum Heist Talks to CNN

The FBI announced earlier this week that it has identified who was behind the 1990 art heist at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, but–spoiler alert–the Feds aren’t naming names, and the statute of limitations has run out on the crime, so the creeps that swiped masterpieces by the likes of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas can’t be prosecuted. This may or not explain why Rick Abbath, one of the night watchmen on duty the evening of the crime 23 years ago, has decided to get chatty. In a segment (below) that aired this week on Anderson Cooper 360°, CNN’s Randi Kaye spoke with Abbath about what happened inside the museum that fateful night. Kaye takes a closer look at the famous caper in 81 Minutes: Inside the Greatest Art Heist in History, a documentary that airs on CNN tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern.

Watch This: Martin Puryear on Printmaking

Art21′s year-long celebration of having profiled 100–count them!–artists on its its PBS Series Art in the Twenty First-Century rolls on, and with it come journeys into the vault for footage that never made it to air. The latest is this archival gem, filmed in 2002, in which Martin Puryear discusses his interest in printmaking and how the directness of the process contrasts with the accretive approach he takes with sculpture. Watch Puryear at work at Berkeley’s Paulson Bott Press, where he employs skills he learned as a student at the Swedish Royal Academy of Art in Stockholm, and see how the ideas explored in his sculptures manifest themselves on the page.

Strip Tease: New Science Channel Series Takes Deeper Look at Cities

The Science Channel, our source for the highly unscientific adventures of misanthropic savant Karl Pilkington, has marshaled the forces of CGI animation for Strip the City. The new six-part series aims to “strip major cities naked of their steel, concrete, air, ocean, and bedrock–layer by layer, act by act–to explore their hidden infrastructure and solve key mysteries surrounding their origins, geology, archaeology, industry, weather, and engineering.” First up on the stripping block (pole?) is San Francisco, where thare’s fire-fighting water in them thar valleys. Take a sip of your urbane beverage every time someone says “plate tectonics.” Watch a clip below and tune in to Science on Tuesday nights for new episodes that will dramatically dislodge the infrastructure of the likes of Sydney, London, and Toronto.

Art21 Celebrates 100 Artists

This year our friends at Art21 are celebrating the big 100–that’s how many artists have appeared to date on its PBS Series Art in the Twenty First-Century, first broadcast in 2002. From Richard Serra talking tools in his Manhattan studio (from 2000, below) to Sarah Sze (artist #100, she’ll represent the United States later this year at the Venice Biennale) on the importance of improvisation and spontaneity during her installation process, the profiled artists are celebrated on Art21′s new “100 Artists” page–sortable by artist face, name, or order of appearance on the show. No word yet on who made the cut for season seven, but in the meantime, Art21 promises to release previously unpublished content from its archive as well as new material produced in collaboration with the artists–think films, interviews, artworks, and reading lists–throughout 2013.

Inside IDEO Founder David Kelley’s Ettore Sottsass-Designed Home

In a recent 60 Minutes segment, Charlie Rose and producer Katherine Davis profiled IDEO co-founder David Kelley (and revealed that even Steve Jobs himself struggled in getting AT&T to activate one of the first iPhones). This part of the piece, in which Rose pays a visit to Kelley’s Ettore Sottsass-designed home near Palo Alto, ended up on the cutting room floor, but CBS has released it as an online extra. “It’s supposed to be a humble, private house, where you don’t make a big deal out of it,” Kelley tells Rose. “That’s why it’s so plain on the front.” Sottsass studded the living room with bluish green boxes, to break up the space and make it more cozy. Here, Kelley reveals what’s inside them. Plus, his teenage daughter has an entire little (Monopoly-style) house to herself. Notes Kelley, “Ettore thought that if you were a kid you should have your own house rather than your own room.”


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Conan Rounds Up Least Viral Videos of 2012

“Best of” lists are a dime a dozen at this time of year, but only the most discerning cultural critics dare to voyage into “worst of” territory. Conan O’Brien and Team Coco prove themselves up to the task in this roundup of the least viral videos of 2012. No “Gangnam Style” here, moving image fans, but you will find five less than scintillating and refreshingly trendproof gems such as the aptly titled “Reading.” And remember: virality is in the eye of the beholder. Andy Warhol would have taken these over PSY and “KONA 2012″ any day.

Eye Spy: Vogue Fashion Editors Tell Their Stories in HBO Documentary

Vogue is going all out for its 120th anniversary. Following a triumphant turn on the big screen in R.J. Cutler’s 2009 The September Issue, the magazine is out with a stunning coffee table book that celebrates the work of legendary Vogue fashion editors such as Grace Coddington (who is having quite a year), Polly Mellen, Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, and Babs Simpson. These behind-the-scenes figures also take center stage in a new documentary, In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye, now airing on HBO.

Produced and directed by docu-maestros Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, the film is a feast of interviews about famous Vogue images (Mellen steals the show with a moving recollection of her now-famous 1981 shoot with Richard Avedon, a naked Nastassia Kinski, and a Burmese python) and musings on the slippery role of a fashion editor, all artfully combined with a running chronology of the magazine through the ages, including the servicey Mirabella interregnum of 1971-1988. “The people who are responsible for the fashion images are the fashion editors,” says a Prada-clad Anna Wintour. “They have always been our secret weapon, so it seemed to me that we could celebrate Vogue, and also, at the same time, celebrate these great editors.”

Take a Black Friday ‘Art Break’ with Andrew Kuo

Pause in your feverish purchasing of sale-priced MZ Wallace totes and discounted perfect gifts from The Future Perfect for a Black Friday breather: “Now and Later” by Andrew Kuo. The New York-based artist–best known for his intrapersonal infographics–created the 30-second video for MTV’s Art Breaks, a series of bite-sized video artworks commissioned by Creative Time and MoMA PS1 that revives the MTV “Art Break” segments from 1985. Having relaunched earlier this year with videos by the likes of Rashaad Newsome and Mads Lynnerup, Art Breaks returns this month (and through April 2013) with a new crop of artists, including Semâ Bekirovic and Cody Critcheloe. In creating “Now and Later,” Kuo looked to Chris Burden‘s 1973 “Through the Night Softly,” in which the artist was filmed wiggling through a galaxy of broken car glass–footage that would later be inserted amidst the commercials on a Los Angeles television station.

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